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Lack of management training to blame for absenteeism, says study

9 September 2008

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One of the key reasons for continued levels of absenteeism in the public sector is the lack of resources and training given to managers to monitor and improve attendance levels effectively, according to leading UK HR directors.

In a recruitment consultancy study, 60% of HR directors said management reluctance to tackle absenteeism is a major issue. A lack of employee engagement was also cited as a key driver of public sector absenteeism, with 42% saying this was a “significant cause”.

Nicola Linkleter, of Badenoch & Clark, who conducted the study, said: “We realise absenteeism in the public sector isn’t a new issue. These figures highlight significant reasons behind it.

“The worrying revelation here is that absenteeism seems to be tied closely with the need for consistent training of managers in how to approach the issue. That, of course, makes it a much more challenging issue to address, as opinion and approach vary greatly across the sector. Bringing people into your organisation that have the tools and willingness to face up to the issue head on is a big first step.

“However, it needs to go beyond the boundaries of management; it needs endorsement from all levels of an organisation. Without board level involvement, line managers are often left to ignore the root problems that cause serial absenteeism, such as disillusionment or bullying.

“Changing behaviours is not an easy task for any employer, but there are definite and clear ways to ensure a practical top-down approach.”

Badenoch & Clark

Should practice managers be given more training to to improve staff attendance levels? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“Yes” – Atiya Rajbee, St Leonards-On-Sea

“Yes, definitely, but they also need to know that their employers will let them put this training into force! I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about effective methods for improving staff attendance.” – Susan Harrigan, Gateshead

“Yes they should – I definitely agree and would welcome more training to tackle this issue!” – Liz Cruise, Kent